Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: December 31st

Easily in my top ten Horror of 2018, Graham Reznick's Dead Wax on Shudder is a descent into the danger and madness of the strange subculture that surrounds a record that can destroy you via Frequency Range Manipulation, as well as three mysterious records that surround the fatal prize. Everybody involved just kills it acting wise, especially lead Hannah Gross and Ted Raimi. Reznick was interviewed on the Shockwaves Podcast recently and he mentioned Mondo/Death Waltz would be putting out the OST sometime real soon. Needless to say, I'm checking the M/DW website daily.

Playlist from 12/30:
U2 - War
Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats - Wasteland
Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms
Pale Dian - Narrow Birth

Card of the day is being delayed until just before Midnight tonight.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018: December 30th

It's been a few years since I've put on any of Ween's music. Still one of my all-time favorite bands, their break-up back in 2012 I was heart-broken. A reunion seemed possible down the road, but it hurt regardless because Ween were two friends that had gown up and shared so much making music together, it was exactly like my friends and I - Grez, Mr. Brown, Sonny, Tim - who had done the same. Then, in 2014 Aaron Freeman - AKA Gene Ween - released this song and I was deeply affected by it. I found myself hoping Ween would not reunite; I didn't want him to end up back where he had been. And ever since I've felt a disconnect from Ween.

Then, two days ago a younger guy was listening to Mac Demarco. I'd heard Salad Days before, but something about it grabbed me in that moment. I put the album on my headphones and by the end had an irresistible urge to listen to Pure Guava. After Guava, I dipped right into Painting the Town Brown, and for the first time in probably ten years listened to the entire 25+ minute Poop Ship Destroyer version in sheer, invigorated awe.

I've avoided seeing Ween since they reunited in 2016, despite the fact that they've played near me countless times. I'm not sure I'll go see them live again - not because of a grudge, just because I've seen them live SO many times - but it's nice to reconnect with something I love in a purely organic way.

Stay Brown!

Links to The Horror Vision's 2018 Year in Horror:

Apple Podcasts
Google Play

I watched a couple flicks last night.

First Marvel movie I've seen since Civil War, which, along with batman vs. superman, kinda broke my interest in big two comic book adaptations. I would have been fine skipping this one, too, except I have to say, the trailer for Endgame has me, and I figured I should see the flick that leads into it.

I didn't hate this, but I will say I absolutely hated the overbearing score by Alan Silvestri.

All along, I've been far more interested in where Marvel is ultimately going with the big picture for their cinematic universe, and Endgame looks like it will shut the door on the Avengers, at least for a time.

Fucking insane. That's all I can say. Must have been an influence on Panos Cosmatos.

I watched this one more because I was in a Joe Bob mood than for the movie itself. That Last Drive-In special is still up on shudder, under series I think, and each film and its adjacent commentaries are listed as episodes in the 'season.' Did I call Blue Sunshine insane? I was wrong. This IS insanity. Like Porky's fucked Ghoulies and had a horny, satanic baby that grew up and went to college with the revenge of the nerds cast.

Playlist from 12/29:

Shannon - Let the Music Play (Single)
Ministry - Animositisomina
Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown
Deafheaven - New Bermuda

Card of the day:

Not, I think, the beginning of a journey, but the end of one.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018: December 29th

I kept seeing the trailer for this new Black Mirror pop up, but as much as I love the first two seasons of the show, I'm behind. And it seems from afar that Netflix releases trailers for the individual episodes now, which feels a bit extreme to my increasingly trailer-phobic mindset, so I passed over Bandersnatch multiple times. In fact, despite posting it here now, I'm still not planning on watching this trailer. But the movie is definitely being pushed to the top of my watch list - especially now that we've done our 2018 Year in Horror on The Horror Vision Podcast (I'll have links tomorrow) - because according to a discussion with a friend last night, Bandersnatch is a full movie AND a choose your own adventure format. And I cannot even begin to imagine how that is going to work.

Probably my final read of the year - at least literature wise - was polishing off the last couple of stories in an old paperback copy of August Derleth's The Mask of Cthulhu. I've had this book for over twenty years and never read all of it; the first Lovecraft I ever read, The Lurker at the Threshold, turned out to be a Derleth book (the edition I found in a Record Swap in Tinley Park, Il in roughly 1993 boldly credited the novel to Lovecraft on the cover), and though I generally find Mr. Derleth to be a bit too repetitious for my taste, he is a pretty good writer at times, and his concepts often hook me, even if the execution isn't always great. I picked this one back up in October under the premise of finally reading some of the stuff I've had on shelves but never read or finished - an initiative that underscored my reading this past year - and I actually enjoyed pretty much all five stories to some degree. You'll note I had to break the book's contents up over a few months, though, otherwise that repetitious handling of Lovecraftian tropes can make me feel as though I'm reading one long reiteration of the same story.

Playlist from 12/28:

Mac Demarco - Salad Days
Ween - Pure Guava
Ween - Painting the Town
Perturbator - Dangerous Days
Perturbator - Uncanny Valley
Calexico - The Black Light

Card of the day:

The card's titled Peace but I'm reading this as indecision, which I am suffering from majorly at the moment. Time to pony up.

Friday, December 28, 2018

2018: December 28th - My Top Ten Favorite Albums of the Year...

... can be found HERE on Joup. Hint: this is on it.

Playlist from 12/27:

Tool - Undertow
Ghost Cop - One Weird Trick

No card today.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018: December 26th

This will be the only time and the only trailer for Jordan Peele's upcoming film Us that I watch. I do not want to know a single thing more about this film before I sit down to watch it in a theatre in March. But boy is it a doozy. Can NOT wait for this one; Peele had proven himself to be a major voice in establishing a beachhead of viability for horror with major studio budgets again. Also, watching this trailer and being genuinely chilled at several moments therein, the idea that Peele is Producing a new Candyman movie makes me extremely excited.

Playlist from 12/25:

Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas Music of all varieties (kinda need it to stop)
Henry Mancini and His Orchestra - Charade OST
The Police - Synchronicity
Talking Heads - Remain in Light

Card for today:

The Earthly aspect of Air. Let's read that initially as keep your head out of the clouds and down to Earth, or translated into Writerly Advice, stop f&^king talking about it and do it. There's also an element of destructive logic, which fits my overthinking the ending of this book. I've become gun-shy, and the next four days needs to undo that so I have a completed manuscript - in need of a hardcore edit, mind you - by NYE.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas - Kate Nash

Another one I post every year. Love Kate Nash for this song.

Merry Christmas! The Pogues - Fairytale of New York

I post it every year, because it never gets old.

2018: December 25th

Merry Christmas, world!

I had long banished any semblance of Christmas spirit from my life as a sort of revolt against Christianity and the 'normal' upbringing that, while having molded me for what I believe was the better, I had cast off in my twenties in a series of mental and intellectual, psychonautic journeys. You know, the usual 20s stuff: Drugs, the Occult, alternative political science. By my thirties I was more formed as a person, and having moved to LaLaLand, used the distance from family to eliminate Christmas altogether. The holiday only ever meant family to me after I jettisoned everything else about it, and with family thousands of miles away, I was free to hold some strange grudge against it, the same way I used to hold a grudge against Christianity in general. Which, let's face it, was stupid. Because you know, live and let live. Also, it's very common in the fascist Left of California to preach anti-hate against on the behalf of minorities, or left-of-center groups, while actively hating on the established majorities, which is just fucking retarded. Crowley said it best, "Every man and woman is a star," or "Do what Thou Wilt Shall be the Whole of the Law," the basic tenets of his self-made religion Thelema. In other words, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, believe what you need to in order to be happy and a good person (by the basic nature of this, group hate such as nazi-ism is expunged).

Anyway, K and her Mom really helped reactivate my Christmas spirit last year; I'm about as far from a Christian as you're going to find, but all the pretty dressings they've hung on the winter solstice please me, and in no way threaten my own world view.

I can share.

Still obsessed with Synchronicity. I find that lately, I have to listen to it every day. I just have to.

Playlist from 12/24:

Talking Heads - Sand in the Vaseline disc 2
Talking Heads - Remain in Light
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
The Police - Synchronicity
The Police - Regatta de Blanc
Vaguess - The Bodhi Collection

Card of the day:

Lack of stability based on thwarted attempts to write that have become negative inertia. Jesus, I really need to get my shit on track. Tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2018

2018: December 24th

Continuing to hang out in the 80s music of my childhood, I've added a Talking Heads binge to my Police one (still listening to Synchronicity on an almost daily basis).

In 2008 Pascal Laugier ripped my soul open with his film Martyrs. The one film of the 'torture porn' generation to transcend the genre, Martyrs - the original, French version - is a milestone in horror cinema that made me feel something no other film has. Four years later his follow-up, The Tall Man, played like an ABC, movie of the week and left me flabbergasted that the same man had made it. Now, six years later, Mr. Laugier has once again made a film that affected me so deeply, I am still thinking about it four days after viewing it. I'm not posting a trailer here because I watched Incident in a Ghostland with no knowledge what it was about and think you should do the same - I sampled the trailer a few minutes ago and it gives WAAAAY too much away. Just watch it blind; it's $3.99 to rent on Prime right now and is very much worth the money. But do me a favor: watch it alone, in the dark, and if you smoke, maybe have a hit or two beforehand. And then, well, prepare yourself.

Another film I watched recently is The Witch in The Window, streaming on Shudder and nested in their "Best of 2018" category. Very good film; it has a moment that chilled me to the marrow. Very understated horror, with the main focus on a splintered family. This trailer I have vetted and have no qualms posting because it does what a trailer should do - gives you a feel without spoiling anything about the film.

Playlist from 12/23:

Tool - Undertow
The Police - Synchronicity
Talking Heads - Sand in the Vaseline (disc 2)
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

Card of the day:

Macrocosmic emotional event? Perhaps a commentary on my re-finding my Christmas spirit last year and it really filling me with an all-pervading joy this year during the season?

Saturday, December 22, 2018

2018: December 22nd

It's hard for me to choose a favorite Prince song, and it's equally as hard for me to even choose a favorite Prince song off any given Prince album. Sign O' The Times Definitely ranks among my favorite of the man's work, partially because it is so of its time that when I listen to it the very cells in my body and brain move back to how they operated, circa 1987. I can see the ugly orange carpet we had in the living room, the weird 70s plaid sofa and loveseat; I can hear my dog Frisky barking over the sound of B96 low on the radio in my sister's bedroom. I can picture the chill of sneaking out of bed late on a cold Friday night in March to watch Friday Night Videos (we never had cable), and the strain of the title track from the album coming from the Magnavox tv. And for some reason, even though I didn't know or hear The Ballad of Dorothy Parker until later in life, listening to it now instantly evokes these sense-memories, in such a strong way that, if I close my eyes, I am right back there. Time Travel - I've sometimes wondered if it's just our sense of sight that prevents us from this feat, as though the things we build our world from specifically operate/exist within certain visual spectrum parameters, to prevent the layman from actually traveling into the past. Were this so, are there secret places where this is not the case? And who, if anyone, holds the keys to those places?

This weird psychonaut talk may be the result of watching most of the Joe Bob Briggs Christmas Phantasm Marathon last night on Shudder. The series gets pretty trippy as it goes on, so maybe it affected me in ways I did not anticipate...

The newest episode of The Horror Vision went up late last night. This past Thursday night Ray, Anthony, Chris, and myself were fortunate enough to have three of the main minds from Skeleton Crew on to discuss their new feature Secret Santa. Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, and Bryan Sexton steer the boat for a nice, meaty discussion on their movie, the horrors of holiday family dinners, independent filmmaking, the state of horror, plus, a lot of in-depth facets of the movie business as seen through a creator's eyes. Here's a trailer for Secret Santa, which I've seen twice now and which gets better every time. Links to our episode on all the usual platforms follow:

The Horror Vision: Secret Santa Interview Apple Podcasts
The Horror Vision: Secret Santa Interview Spotify
The Horror Vision: Secret Santa Interview Google Play
The Horror Vision: Secret Santa Interview 

Playlist from 12/21:

Ministry - The Last Sucker
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

Card of the day:

Calm exterior, tempest inside. This is me at the moment. Nothing bad happening, just unable to find the time to work on everything I want to work on, let alone finish the goddamn book!

However, patience is virtue, and I sometimes feel as though I might have inexhaustible reserves of this precious commodity.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018: December 20th

I've never been a very big MC5 fan. I've always labored under the idea that the right time/place just never hit me with them, despite several of my best friends being huge fans well back into the 90s. Mr. Brown saw them live recently, and alerted me to the fact that the new band is, for me, something I simply can NOT ignore. Original guitarist Wayne Kramer is joined on this current tour by:

Billy Gould - Faith No More
Kim Thayil - Soundgarden
Brandon Canty - Fugazi
And one of the best live vocalists I've ever seen, still to this day probably fifteen years after last time seeing him with one of my favorite bands, from Zen Guerrilla, Marcus Durant. I missed the show in LaLaLand, and I'll have to live with that, but thanks to KEXP and their wonderful Live on KEXP series, I at least have this.

Tangent: REJOICE - Heaven is an Incubator has released his albums of the year; read all about them HERE. Mine's coming eventually...

I really intended on posting the new Hellboy trailer that dropped yesterday. I love the two Hellboy flicks GDT did, especially Hellboy: The Golden Army, which I always thought felt like the first movie if someone gave it a Mandy-sized dose of LSD. I was sad to see that run of Hellboy end, but with Harbour as the red-skinned pulp hero, Ian McShane as Bruttenholm, and Neil "Dog Soldiers" Marshall directing, I'm all in. Even though I HATE the first trailer. After having a momentary panic, I did some digging and my encroaching suspicion seems to be confirmed: this trailer was edited in a slightly dishonest way, so as to push a bunch of humor to the front and give the film a more "Guardians of the Galaxy" type vibe. This of course makes perfect marketing sense marketing wise, so I'm willing to forgive that, especially when a Deadline interview with creator Mike Mignola includes this quote: "Neil is a horror director so the idea then was to make a darker film." Read the full interview HERE. Yeah, the interview is three months old, but I feel like Mignola's words are more poignant now that we have a trailer that, hopefully, is at least a touch misleading.

Playlist from 12/19:

Cash Money (Audio) - The Green Bullet
Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
The Police - Synchronicity
Billie Ellish - Party Favor (Single)
Billie Ellish - When the Party's Over
Kavinsky - Night Call (Single)
Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown
The Atlas Moth - Coma Noir
The Damage Manual - >1 Remix EP
The Damage Manual - Eponymous
NIN - Bad Witch

Card of the day:

The Earthy aspect of Air. My initial impetus is to translate this as herald of a possible external or internal conflict today, however in looking at the nifty little reference book that came with the beautiful mini Thoth deck my good friend Missi gifted me while I was in Chicago, I read this: "A young woman, stern and revengeful, with destructive logic, firm and aggressive, skilled in practical affairs," and I realize this is EXACTLY one of the characters I am writing in the book at the moment, one of the ones that brings everything around to the book's conclusion. Cassandra Tenorio is very skilled, motivated solely by vengeance, and maybe should act a little more like it. Gloves = off!

Thanks again Missi!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018: December 19th

Continuing my recent relapse into my life-long obsession with The Police - I can remember checking Synchronicity on vinyl out of the library in Worth, Il back in the early 80s. One of the first bands to make an impact on me, somewhere around the age of seven. Every Breath You Take is one of those songs that never became played out to me, despite its exponential ubiquity in the years since its release. I LOVE the bridge - the bridge still hits me just as hard now as it did then. And like Vertigo is to cinema, what a creepy contemplation of obsession in audio form, masquerading as a love song. Well, not really masquerading at all. The Police play this one as it lays, it just seems to be the world at large misinterpreted it as 'sweet'.

Playlist from 12/18:

Cash Money (Audio) - Green Bullet
The Police - Synchronicity
The Police - Outlandos d'Amour
Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want
Various Artists - Personal Playlist: Wisconsin Mix
Interpol - Marauder
Ennio Morricone - Black Belly of the Tarantula OST

I'll take this as a warning about the ease/speed with which I succumb to new ideas, because they are distractions at this point.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018: Tuesday, December 18th

Aaaannnddd... the dream is over. Back to work today.

I'd never heard of Demdike Stare before last Thursday night. We were sitting around in the hotel room in Wisconsin after spending the day at House on the Rock, and I happened across this, which led me to the group's 2018 album Passion, which is fantastic. Reminds me a bit of the first time I heard Adult, way back on the Erase Errata remix EP that has since disappeared from this reality completely.

I think.

Playlist from 12/17:

Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
Calexico - Even Sure Things Fall Through
Calexico - The Black Light
Exhalants - Eponymous
Pastor T.L. Barrett & The Youth for Christ Choir - Do Not Pass Me By, Vol. II
The Knife - Silent Shout
Cash Money (Audio) - Green Bullet

Card of the day:

Right now, I'm reading this as successfully reintegrating back into my routine, which I have seem to done fine.

Monday, December 17, 2018

2018: Monday, December 17th

Saturday night my cousin Charles introduced me to Kevin Morby. It was late, there were a handful of people, all of us speaking passionately about this and that, so I couldn't really hear the music as it dwindled out of my small blu tooth speaker placed behind my parents' basement bar, but Charles' recommendations are always fantastic, even if I'm not always in the right headspace to completely sync with them.

No problem in the 'sync' department this time.

Sunday at Midway Airport I put on Morby's 2016 album Singing Saw and it became my travel album for the day, the 5 1/2 hour musical loop that got me through take off, flight, and departure in a beautifully fleeting hypnogogic trance. Needless to say the album is not only fantastic, but endeared to me now for all time.

Re-acclimating to LaLaLand and what we refer to as 'normal life' because here I don't eat terribly, drink full throttle every night, or dabble in anything beyond the occasional vape. Part of that re-acclimation process was as simple as putting some vinyl the turntable and just chilling the f*&k out. I led the way with a wonderful gift I received from Mr. Brown while I was in:

That's right! The 20th anniversary vinyl edition of Calexico's seminal The Black Light album. I'll be honest - back in the day Mr. Brown was always more into these guys than I was; Even Sure Things Fall Through was the album that hit me the most, with the very Badalamenti opener Sonic Wind virtually assuring my allegiance, and Feast of Wire played a pretty big role in my initial soundtrack upon moving to Los Angeles, but I've often had a hard time finding the right headspace to fit Calexico in on a semi-regular basis. And something about that seems to have changed, as my moods and headspace grow and expand. For almost ten years now I've experienced an increasingly strong connection to Metal in most of its forms (especially the newer, stranger mutations like Blut Aus Nord and The Body) because it's music that helps me write. Often even if I'm in the mood for slower, quieter tunes to listen to while writing it I have to jack the headphone volume because I primarily do the big work in a public place that pipes in music. Also, if I'm lagging, metal kicks my ass in gear. That said, my walk to said writing place is mellow and peaceful, and sometimes of late my morning music leans away from metal, as does my evening, at-home-on-the-record-player listening, so this is perfect. And, The Black Light is a beautiful record, as are the re-issue's linear notes, which are partially (or maybe entirely - they're long and I haven't had a chance to finish them yet) written by Calexico co-founder Joey Burns, so it's a wonderful window into the band and the situations/thoughts/experiences that led to the record's creation.

Playlist from Sunday, 12/16:

Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want
Calexico - The Black Light

Card of the day:

The journey home is over, the journey back to a productive reality begins today.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

2018: December 15th

Friday, December 14th:

Deer Valley Lodge, Wisconsin. Woke up at roughly 8:00 AM and was moved to put this song on. I've posted Synchroncity II here before, and I'm sure I'll post it here again. Not just my favorite song by the Police, but one of my favorite songs of all time.

I'm playing this off my old iPod, the one that's not linked to my Apple Music account. Playing this device is always interesting, because it's kind of a time capsule. Since subscribing to Apple Music, I keep this iPod separate and synched to my original library, so I only have access to music I manually ripped myself or acquired through iTunes/Bandcamp/Amazon. And after deleting a bunch of tunes from the library on that Mac, I'm actually afraid to even sync this again, so the last sync is kind of a permanent thing at this point, thus, it's like looking into my head a year and a half ago.

Playlist from 12/13:

Black Sabbath - Vol. 4
Grimes - Oblivion
Foster the People - Torches

Saturday, December 15th:

Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 has not only been a constant companion throughout most of my life, it's also been a constant companion on this trip, being that it's the only cassette I could find to play in my Dad's truck when I borrow it. And really, Vol. 4 is probably a 'desert island' album for me, anyway, so no complaints here.

I am exhausted. My trips home always end up being hectic, because I try so hard to see everyone as much as I can. And there's always a lot of people I want to see, and some people that I don't see or fail to spend as much time with as I would like. Today is going to be mellow. I think.

House on the Rock in Wisconsin is an unbelievable adventure, a veritable sensual smorgasbord of tchotchke insanity spread out and displayed over an architectural mind-fuck that might even trump the Winchester house, which I visited circa 2007, the Hearst Castle - also 2007- or the Barnum home in Florida, which I saw in 2012. I guess I've been collecting these kinds of experiences for years and didn't even notice it. House on the Rock? Probably my favorite, and it's led me to want to re-read and watch Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which I read back when it was first published and so, hardly remember.

Issue #1 of my comic collaboration with artist Jonathan Grimm is fully mocked up and ready for the final touches. We used scissors, tape, and plastic page protectors to figure out the exact placing of the word bubbles, now John can finish the gray washing, digitally add the words, and wha-lah! We start issue #2, which is written (1st draft), sketched and somewhat laid out. While working last night, John provided the tunes to set the mood. He's a big swamp/southern/doom rock guy, so we used his selections to provide the appropriate soundtrack. He may have made me a Down fan, which I did not expect to ever type, considering my disdain for Phil Anselmo.

Playlist from 12/14:

Lots of 1st Wave on XM radio during our road trip. I'm going to assemble a playlist and post it here at some point.
CCR - Green River
COC - No Cross No Crown
Down - NOLA
Black Label Society - Sonic Brew

Card for the day:

That I'm not seeing everyone I want to? On. The. Nose.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018: December 13th

I am LOVING this new Boy Harsher! Can't wait for the album.

Off to Wisconsin this morning, to visit a place integral to American Gods. If it's as cool as it sounds, I may post pictures here tomorrow or Saturday, we'll see. And still hoping K gets to see some snow.

Playlist from yesterday:

Reverend Horton Heat - Whole New Life
Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

No card today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2018: December 12th: New John Garcia and the Band of Gold

New music from John Garcia and the Band of Gold. I'm a big fan of Kyuss, especially ...And the Circus Leaves Town and Blues for the Red Sun. I never really kept up with Mr. Garcia afterward though. This sounds great to me. Looking forward to the record, pre-order it HERE.

It's amazing how much great music came out of the California Deserts in the late 90s/early 00s. Having played a bit there myself, I can attest to the fact that there's a beautifully haunting undercurrent of inspiration that people tap into. Has a bit to do with Gram Parsons and his death, a little bit more to do with the alien landscape. That said, the sound on this track reeks of 'desert', but Nate Klein's gorgeous cinematography play with a mostly urban landscape, so there's almost a disconnect, but one that disappears when we get that shot at about 00:54 of what looks to me like the highway leading into Twenty-Nine Palms - you just don't have those kinds of hills in LA - and then the pedigree becomes visible once again. It's a similar vibe to the first Queens of the Stone Age album, which also played with a low-income urban vibe juxtaposed against the desert. Works well, and it really puts you there. That's the lifeblood of California, not the money and fame. We're an artificial human paradigm forced into a desert. And in the end, Mother Nature always wins, sometimes you just need a longer timeline to see it.

Spent a nice six hours or so working on The Legend of Parish Fenn with Jonathan Grimm last night. Seeing this thing laid out in the flesh blows my mind - John's art has come such a long way, same with my words, and laying out mock word bubbles over the art thrilled me to no end. Here's a sneak peak:

Playlist from 12/12:

Moderat - II
Zeal & Ardor - Stranger Fruit
Ghost -Meliora
Various - Twin Peaks (Music from the Limited Event Series)
Secret Premiere Album for Friend's Band
Type O Negative - Dead Again

Card of the day:

Victory and arrogance. Check. These are two sides of the same coin for some; I myself have never relied on arrogance to get me through the day, I just don't have the self-importance. I know when I do something that sucks, and I know when I do something that's good. The card warns about keeping on the fine line of living with - and more importantly talking about - these. Parish Fenn? Good. The final scene in ShadowPlay, Book 1? So far, not good. It's driving me fucking crazy. Literally. I can feel myself carrying all kinds of neurosis at this point, all voices screaming "Finish the fucking thing." But I can't quite get it where I want it. Seven years I've been working on this (with a year off to do the shorts in Collection of Desires, which in turn led to me having a different outlook on ShadowPlay, which I'd mistakenly thought was finished). End result? It will be awesome when it's done, I just have everything else on hold and a whole lotta self confidence issues until that happens. But seeing Fenn and then this card together now? It helps.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018: December 11th

After a conversation with a friend, I'm really re-assessing this year's return of the band Daughters. Here's some live footage I watched in the middle of the night last night (that's now! I'm all messed up on time this trip).

The weather in Chicago is COLD, and I've taken a bit of a hit. Or, my day of feeling like shit was reaction to another fairly heavy drinking late night, the after-show for the Drinking with Comics On the Road Special: Chicago, which just went up on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play.

Read the first two trades of Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt's Wildstorm reboot last night in between editing the audio for the new episode. THEY ARE INCREDIBLE, and have surely set me off an an Ellis-jag as soon as I return home and get to my bookshelves. First up? Planetary, the last issue or trade or whatever was delayed for years back in the day, I have still never read.

Playlist from 12/10 was non-existent.

Playlist from 12/09:

Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave (Vol. 4 import)
Arab Strap - The Red Thread
Tom Waits - Rain Dogs

Card of the day:

"Analytical approach to problems of the mind."

Nail on the head.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

2018: December 9th

Let's start the day with some Sabbath, shall we?

When I first moved to LaLaLand in 2006, I'd come home every October with a small cache of CDs. Eventually, of course, technology prevailed and my travel bag got lighter with the iPod; I bought one of those handy cassette to 1/8th jacks and music could follow me even in my Dad's truck, which only had CD and cassette capabilities. So far this trip I can't find that damned device, and in a search for something to listen to yesterday on my way to see Jonathan Grimm hock his wares at the Miskatonic Brewery's most recent art show, I found this in my dad's glove box, no doubt left by me several years before:

The find dovetailed nicely with waking up this morning and finding Mr. Brown had texted me that Pitchfork's Sunday Album this week is Sabbath's Paranoid, written by Grayson Haver Currin. I pretty much hate pitchfork except for this weekly column, and if you're a Sabbath fan, this is a great read. You can find the article HERE.

All this fits, because I can't come home and not become immersed in Sabbath, so the cassette was more a spiritual omen or reminder than it was a coincidence. My parent's place breathes Sabbath to me; some of my favorite and most vivid memories of the heavily wooded property where I grew up are of my friend Jake and I getting stoned and listening to Sabbath. Not just listening; this was clinical. We reveled in it, picking lyrics apart and building the exo-skeletons of our own philosophy around some of the words in the songs - especially the ones on Sabotage - the riffs and rhythms serving as mnemonic anchors, activation triggers for me later in life (sadly, Jake did not make it to 'later in life'; that's shit I work through in my writing, if you know where to look), so that the simple act of sitting in a car behind the house at 42 years of age and hearing the opening riff of Wheels of Confusion reactivates the assuredness Jake and I had at twenty-years old that the overall pull of the Universe was a positive, loving one, and no matter what I was struggling with it was transitory because that is the nature of our reality, transition.


Drinking with Comics tapes and (hopefully) streams live tonight on the DwC Facebook page, somewhere around 6:00 PM CST (that's 4:00 PM on the West Coast) at the Amazing Fantasy Books and Comics Frankfort store.

Playlist from 12/08:

Black Sabbath - Children of the Grave (Import version of Vol. 4)
Perturbator - B-Sides and Remixes, Vol. 1

No card today because I'm running out of time. Heading out to see this on the big screen:

Saturday, December 8, 2018

2018: December 8th

Always a pleasure to get a new video from Tennis System. L I E is the final track on this year's Pain EP, and it was one of my favorite EPs of the year. This band is awesome! Support them HERE.

Short post today, as I'm chasing down a new idea for a short story.

Long night of hanging with the old school gang. And it got Old School, believe me. The playlist was out of my control and largely nostalgic, with Mr. Brown handling most of the duties, and everyone else popping in a disc here or there for a song or two. Fantastic time, Fantastic friends, and Fantastic music. Here's what I can piece together from the fragments of memory floating on a rocky sea of Goose Island 312 and Italian Beef:

Playlist from 12/07:

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - It's a Holiday Soul Party
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Reverend Horton Heat - We Three Kings
Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind
Anthrax - Sound of White Noise
Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Now I Got Worry

Card of the day:

Definitely the appropriate feeling for being home among all my loved ones, so I'll leave it at that.

Friday, December 7, 2018

2018: December 7th - RIP Pete Shelley

Rest in Peace, Peter Shelley.

The first time I heard The Buzzcocks it was their single What Do I Get, circa 1998, and I was floored. After coming up in the early 90s and absolutely HATING the pop punk movement (do I hate green day more than I hate crappy 70s bands like Ace, Styxx, and Kansas? Yes. Yes I do), I was shocked to find there was pop punk that didn't turn everything I loved about the original 'punks' - a social movement more than a sound, per se - into a marketing ploy. Then, to find that as that as they evolved, the Buzzcocks melded more with the Post-Punk movement, I've often felt this band were way more important in the annals of rock history than they are generally given credit for. Even I haven't listened to the Buzzcocks as much as I feel I should, my familiarity starting and stopping with songs on an old mixtape back in the day, and an career-spanning anthology Mr. Brown gave me years ago.

I began working on my Top Ten Favorite Albums of 2018 list the other day. Did Beak>'s L.A. Playback make the cut? Honestly, I'm not even sure yet. It's always a favorite year-end activity of mine, to comb back through all the music that came out over the past year and boil down my ten favorites, but it's never easy. There's A LOT of good music out there. I also always look forward to reading other people's lists, chief among them the ones published by Heaven Is An Incubator and Joup's Daniel Fiorio. I'll definitely be posting links to those here when they drop.

In the meantime, here's some Live Beak> I found on youtube. Love KEXP! So many awesome bands - reminds me of the old Peel Sessions, or in a more contemporary, LA way, Part Time Punks.

Playlist from my travel day yesterday was primarily six sustained hours of Burial's Untrue, with a few other things thrown into the mix. That's how I travel: I put on an album, almost always electronic in nature, and drill it on repeat. This helps me reach a strange, liminal state, a kind of hypnogogic trance, and that helps me ride the day out in a strange but beautifully peaceful fugue, where none of the inconveniences or discomforts of traveling bother me, and I end up with a creative re-charge. Previous albums I've done this with are Boards of Canada's Geogaddi, Music Has the Right to Children, and Tomorrow's Harvest, and Moderat's II and III.


Burial - Untrue
Burial - Kindred EP
Bohren & der Club of Gore - Gore Motel

Card of the day is super special today, because my good friend Missi surprised me with a present last night - a Mini Thoth deck. No disrespect to that Hansen Roberts deck I've been using as a back-up over the last year, but I have absolutely NO connection with it. Actually, while I can admire the beauty of many decks out there (chief among them that mind blowing Vertigo Comics deck), Lady Frieda Harris/Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck is the only Tarot deck I have a working connection with, so it's the only one I use. Maybe someday that will change, but I kind of doubt it.

I broke the deck in reading for Missi last night, and as usual, her understanding and interpretation of Tarot always inspires me, so the cards are charged and ready to go, and to celebrate I'm doing a spread today instead of just one card:

Full disclosure: I never factor in reversals. That said, while making this giff, I wanted to portray the cards exactly as they were drawn, so I kept that intact. Also, the fact that all three cards are reversed either totally negates the idea that a reversal in this case would matter, or testifies to it. Either way, I read them as the card, not their positioning.

This is interesting because it slightly mirrors the drawing I did for Missi last night, with two Cups divided by a Sword card. My overall reading is simple - I'm having trouble with the setting for the final scene in the book, because it's not enough of a 'set piece.' to change it, I must be cruel or kill one of my darlings - something about the scene that I've been adamant not to change. This will lead to a breakthrough.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2018: December 6th

I'm doing Thursday's post on Wednesday night because I'm up and off to LAX early in the morning to fly to Chicago! Yay!

A couple months ago I posted about Perturbator's side project, L'Enfant De La Fôret. Well, that record fell right the heck off my radar, and it wasn't until I saw Heaven Is An Incubator post this GORGEOUS track that I remembered how much I'd been looking forward to it. And Tommy hit the nail right on the head - this track reeks of Lynch/Badalamenti, which, of course, immediately endears it to me. I can't wait to ingest this entire record during my trip. Name your price and buy it HERE.

Playlist from 12/05:

The Veils - Total Depravity
Grimes - Art Angels
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Hallelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
The Body - I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer.
Gil Scott Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Single)
Scroobious Pip vs. Dan Le Sac - Thou Shalt Always Kill (Single)
Algiers - Eponymous
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Mandy OST
David Lynch & Alan Splatt - Eraserhead OST

Card of the day:

"Insatiable hunger for life and endless, powerful energies." Well, that definitely is the standard definition for how I roll in Chicago. It'll be interesting to see if this year is any different? Well, I've hit a point where I just don't have the energy I previously had. I knock out during movies at home ALL the time now on weekends. I feel a general, low-grade exhaustion on a daily basis. Part of it is I'm 42, and part of it is my first alarm rings at 4:07 AM, five days a week. Normally, I hit Chicago and hook up with my lifelong friends and I can hang out all night, drinking beer and talking music, movies, comics, whatever. Will that be the case with this trip? Well, the card seems to imply it will, so we'll see.

2018: December 5th

How do you get me to be excited about Sabrina, the Teenage Witch? One word:


Defying ALL fucking logic, I absolutely loved the first half of season one, and was pleased as a goat's paunch to hear there's a second half coming on April 5th. The severity of Sabrina's actions in the 8th episode especially sold me, and

I head back home to Chicago for a little over a week tomorrow. VERY excited. This year it is twelve years since I moved, and previously I have only ever gone home in October. Last year when my Uncle Phil passed away I flew home for about a week right after Christmas and realized I actually enjoyed being home in the winter. I wouldn't want to make a yearly habit of it, but there was one night that really made an impact on me. A Sunday, I drove up to the North Side of the city to see my sister and her boyfriend's new apartment. From the South Suburbs where I grew up and my parents still live, that's Lagrange Road to I-55 to the Dan Ryan 90/94. It had just snowed and the trip was stark, desolate and beautiful. I loved the empty trees, the way their branches crosshatch the sky, and the moon irradiates the clouds. I realized I missed winter, in a small way, and when K said she wanted to experience it I was only too happy to book this year's visit in December.

Along with the general vibe I'm interested in exploring in a winter setting, the trip also gives me the opportunity to do something I have wanted to do for years now, namely, film a Drinking with Comics in my old Chicago comic shop, Amazing Fantasy, with two of my best friends, two fellows that, unbeknownst to them, helped me conceive the concept of the show, just by always being the guys who stand around at gatherings with me, drink beer and talk comics. So Sunday, 12/09 we're planning on streaming live to Facebook from Amazing Fantasy in Modena, IL, with Mike Shinabargar and John "The Viking" Bickness. Can NOT wait.

NCBToo many comics out today to go into great detail. Here's my list:

If this is the return of Negan, I will be SO very happy!

Playlist from 12/04:

Opeth - Watershed
David Bowie - Station to Station
Ghost Cop - One Weird Trick
Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked for Death
The Veils - Total Depravity
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night
Jim Reeves - The Best of Jim Reeves

No card today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

2018: December 4th

Recently, I've had a brutal nostalgia for the late 00s. In some ways I find this odd, because that time period is largely a cold, lonely bubble for me. At the same time, I am a person who often enjoys cold, lonely bubbles, and winter always brings that out in me, so I guess this is all right on schedule.

The other thing about the time period in question is, by and large, the late 2000s didn't seem at the time like a hallmark era for new music. There was a definite feeling of lethargy and fraud as the digital file model began to destroy the industry we had known. Looking back now though, there was a lot of good stuff (not as much as now). Just look at a lot of the what's been creeping into these pages the last few weeks and you'll get a taste of what I was listening to during those years: LCD Soundsystem, Underworld, Burial, Kylie, Friendly Fires, Crystal Castles, Arab Strap. Lots of electronic, pop, and dance. I feel like the first decade of the new century, my second and final, ended when I fell back hard into metal, specifically black metal. The interest had been bubbling up again for a few years - Opeth and High on Fire were really the only 'metal' bands I listened to consistently during this time (Type O doesn't really count as the kind of metal I'm talking about and they're always a constant), and then really only closer to year's end. Somewhere around 2009 I got curious and began skulking through the metal sections of the few remaining record stores in the area. I discovered The Ocean Collective's Fluxion, the reissue, and from there it wasn't long until Blut Aus Nord blew my mind and sent me into a progressive Black Metal spiral. But as I said, most of that era was electronic music-oriented for me, and I'm falling back into those sounds pretty hard right now. Especially Burial's 2007 debut, possibly both the most iconic and enigmatic record of the era. Nosing around online for a track to post here, I found this:

I haven't had a chance to watch this documentary yet, but I can't wait to dig into the story of this album, because as I intimated above, I was still under the impression there was a cloud of secrecy around Burial and his music. I knew at some point an actual picture of him made some rounds online, but other than that I know nothing. Also, this is another little tidbit I found that blew my mind.


To wrap around back to a topic from a few days ago, during my recent re-watch of 28 Weeks Later, I found that it contains one of the most horrifying sequences I've seen on film. A lot of the horror is created in the camera work, but let's not gloss over directing a crowd this size; the sequence really gives you the feeling of utter helplessness that can accompany being stuck in a surging crowd. I've been there - not on this level, but in my teens I was at a Pantera show at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom where, after the show as everyone filed out of the concert area and down the double stairs that led to the ground floor exit, some stupid with a taser began to send wicked jolts of electricity running through the nuts-to-buts crowd. This was only a year or so after the AC/DC stampede that killed several people, so probably with that fresh in their minds, the crowd began to panic. Luckily, the situation never escalated beyond mere potential for disaster, and we all made it home safe after all.

Here's a little bit of that scene I'm talking about; it will suffer viewed out of context, so I'm really only leaving this here as a frame of reference for what I'm talking about. If it's been a while since you watched it, or if you haven't seen it, 28 Weeks Later is one of the most worthy sequels to a fantastic original film in recent memory, and very much worth your time. Plus, Robert Carlyle:

Playlist from 11/02:

Frank Sinatra - Ultimate Sinatra
Zombie Zombie - A Land For Renegades
Playlist - NIN between live sets (get HERE)
Opeth - Deliverance
Burial - Untrue
David Bowie - Low
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Mandy OST


The Music - Eponymous
Burial - Untrue
Arab Strap - The Red Thread
Brainiac - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture
Polvo - Today's Active Lifestyles
Mastodon - Once More Round the Sun
Uniform/The Body - Mental Wounds Not Healing
Perturbator - B-Sides and Remixes, Vol. 1

Card of the day:

Instability. Situations that can lead to hot-tempers. This is a work-related pull, I think so I guess I should be on the look out for things that piss me off here and try to play it cool when I encounter them.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

2018: December 2nd

The B&W photography in this video is breathtaking. Directed by Katherine Dieckmann, who did a lot of the breakthrough REM songs back in the early 90s, with DP duties by Jim Denault, who, among many other things, shot more than a few episodes of seminal HBO series Six Feet Under and Carnivále,  this video blew me away. Sharon Van Etten's new record Remind Me Tomorrow comes out January 18th, 2019 omg Jagjaguwar; you can pre-order the record and stream Jupiter 4 and another track HERE, and keep in mind, that's barely a month away at this point.

Early last year when Oz Perkin's Blackcoat's Daughter hit Prime streaming, I'd been waiting for the film for what felt like forever. When I finally sat down to watch it, the experience was a touch anti-climatic because, well, I fell asleep. Now, this happens sometimes - more and more often actually - and I never blame the film. The fact of the matter is I wake up while it's still dark out and work long hours and I'm just not able to hang sometimes. But during that viewing, I nodded off, woke up, rewound and finished the film despite my grogginess. And as often happens in situations like this, the movie suffered for it. But again, I'm always hesitant to blame the film when this happens. What I usually do is put the flick on the back burner, wait a good long while, and then try again.

So last night I re-watched Blackcoat's Daughter - formerly titled February (which I think is a much better title, despite the fact I'm not sure why the school would be going on break in February instead of December) - and I'm not entirely sure I think my narcolepsy during that first viewing was my fault. The pacing is slow but that's not really a problem, as some of my favorite horror films are 'slow burns'. This though, I don't know. Maybe the thing that makes me less forgiving is the fact that there is one thing about this film that I think completely ruins it. I don't want to go into spoilers, but there's a casting issue that I call complete bullshit on; the kind of subterfuge that doesn't work at all but was done simply to add a red herring element and keep the audience in the dark until the end. Makes the film fall into the High Tension category for me, where no matter how much I did like about it - and there's plenty, including a pretty powerful final twenty minutes - the film will never 'work' for me because of the filmmaker's reliance on a contrivance that is beneath the quality of the rest of the film.

Oh well. It was very cool however to revisit this and realize that the main girl has gone on to become Sabrina! Very cool surprise.

Playlist from 12/01:

The Atlas Moth - Coma Noir
Judas Priest - Fire Power
Impaled Nazarene - Suomi Finland Perkele
Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked for Death

Card for the day:

And just like that, the cards reflect that after calling myself on my own BS yesterday, I had a killer 2+ hour writing session, made serious headway, and intend on doing the same today.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

2018: December 1st

New Astronoid out February 1st on Blood Music. Saw these guys open for Zeal & Ardor a few months ago. Very good. Can't wait for the album! Thanks to Heaven is an Incubator for tipping me off to the imminent release.

Finally got around to the first movie-and-a-half of my 28 Days double header. We watched 28 Days Later last night; K had never seen it before and it's been a few years for me. This flick is still top of the line for me. I love the way it's shot, I love the cast, and I love the way Alex Garland's story progresses in a very Romero-but-not-Romero way. What I mean by that is, there are plenty of cues from the godfather of the undead: the shopping spree, conflict with other humans, soldiers... the scene where the Ragers infiltrate the soldiers' compound during dinner reminds me so much of Day of the Dead when the zombies are in the mines. But nothing in 28 Days Later feels regurgitated or rehashed. Maybe that's because it's from the perspective of a different country. As similar as our culture is to Britain's, there's a lot of differences that make each distinctly unique, if you look below the facade (Maybe you don't even have to look that deep). Also, I think there's a certain panache to the writing and directing - it's not necessarily because the film was 'big budget'; I'm not even sure it was a big budget at the time of its production. And as an aside, it's been sometime since a layman like I could mentally juxtapose the concepts of 'Big Budget' with 'independent' in cinema, probably because today, unless you're making a pre-franchised flick that will play in China, you're basically not big budget. But that also doesn't make you independent; ask a filmmaker like Joe Begos - a true indie - if he considers half of what people call indie actually indie, chances are he'll say 'Nope.'

Anyway, with the first one down I was raring to get into the sequel, which I'd only seen once, but then we both fell asleep during 28 Weeks Later. Not the movie's fault, it was late. From what I did see, I can attest to the fact that 28 Weeks' opening sequence is just as awesome as it was the first time I saw it, with ramifications that echo very nicely through the film. I hate splitting movies into more than one viewing, but this is a loaner from a friend and I've had it forever, so we'll be finishing it from where we left off, later today.

Heads Up: Mandy just hit Shudder. If you have the service, watch it.

Russ Lippitt, author of the graphic novel Showdown, has a kickstarter going for an awesome board game based on the Showdown series, which revolves around hot rod racing in hell. That description doesn't really do it justice, so for more info, check this out:

Playlist from 11/30:

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Your Funeral... My Trial
Gimes - We Appreciate Power (Single)
The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex
Electric Youth - Innerworld
Boy Harsher - Country Girl EP
Iggy Pop - The Idiot
Sepultura - Chaos A.D.
Sepultura - Arise
Ghost Cop - One Weird Trick
Sepultura - Beneath the Remains
Emma Ruth Rundle -  Marked for Death

This is interesting. I've had a fairly non-productive week, writing-wise. Part of this is work's been a bitch, but... that's not really it at all. Back in early October, I hung out with an old friend for the first time in a while and he told me about Yes folks, these are the joys of living in a state that has legalized marijuana. Stoney Delivery is basically the amazon of pot; I ordered some CBD stuff for pain and a vape pen of Sativa while at work one day, around 1:00, and by the time I got home it'd been delivered, free shipping to boot. Now, I'm not a huge pothead. I was when I was younger; most days I skip it simply because I generally don't write while high, and I try to write everyday, so the one cancels out the other, no problem. Also, I detest cannabis culture. No kidding. Hate it. But you can't blame the plant for the cult of garish losers started in its name, so for years my pot consumption has been relegated to two event types: watching movies (especially in the theatre), and listening to music. One of the best musical experiences I've had in recent years was bringing Deftones' Koi No Yokan home the day it came out, smoking, and listening to it laid out on my living room floor, my stereo speakers loud enough to engulf me. Same with QOTSA's ...Like Clockwork.
These days though, even most album releases have become harder to coordinate the time for a stoned first pass through. Apple has changed how I listen to music - not for better or worse mind you, simply altered - and my writing has continued to increase, while my time feels perpetually diminished. So, along comes this delivery service and suddenly I'm smoking pretty much every day. The vape is discreet, consistent, and not overpowering. With the actual pot I have accrued over the years (myriads of different strains left at my place by friends, all kept snug as a bug in a rug inside an Iron Maiden Number of the Beast lunch box; who says irony's dead?), smoking is always a toss up and an inconvenience. First, the building we moved into back in March is a serious 'No Smoking' building, and I'm not the kind of A-hole who will inconvenience others just to make myself happy. What this means is before the vape, I'd have to take a small walk to take a drag or two off my one-hitter. And the effects of the weed itself was always inconsistent because of so many different kinds, so I never really knew if two hits would leave me lackluster and tired or induce a full-on schizophrenic episode. Now though, it's the same every time and once I figured out my preferred dosage, it became easier and easier to partake. Coming off being sick two weeks ago, I'd garnered a fair bit of inertia, the kind that tempted me to return from work and read or sleep or watch a movie - all things I can do while high - instead of walking to my spot to write. Also, I'm nearing the end of the book and there's finish- line anxiety. This week I became lucid and realized I'd found an excuse three out of the five days not to write. And that's bullshit. I call bullshit on myself.

Which leads me, at last, back to the card of the day. As soon as I saw the Six of Cups Pleasure, I wondered if it might actually be a warning against too much pleasure. For clarification I pulled another card and what do you know, my hunch was apparently correct because:

There you go. Lazy is as lazy does.

The good news is, well, look at all this insight. It's good to call yourself out on your own bullshit. Also, I had a pretty good session last night and plan on writing both today and tomorrow (this long-winded reflection is a step in the right direction; notice my blog suffered the last few days as well). But I always dig when the cards are that upfront with me. It keeps me grounded and reinforces there's a reason I do this, you know, because as a method around our conscious mind and all its hang-ups, they work. You just have to listen when they speak.

Friday, November 30, 2018

2018: November 30th - NEW GRIMES!!!

Wow. Just wow. I saw this dropped last night, stopped everything I was doing, put in headphones and closed my eyes, went off to Grimes World. The textures at work in this song feel three-dimensional, no doubt based on her use of the stereo field, as well as a knack for choosing sounds of all kinds - many not traditionally 'musical', and using them to really fill out the sonic space. If this is any indication of the new album, it is going to be a perfect step forward from Art Angels.

Re-watched Hereditary a couple of nights ago. My god, even though Mandy is probably my favorite film of 2018, this is far and away the best film. It lost none of its ability to traumatize me, and really opened up more interpretation-wise with this second viewing. I'd imagine I'll be talking a lot about this come our 'year's best' episode of The Horror Vision. Two observations:

1) Toni Collette had certainly better at least be nominated for best actress.
2) Watching the deleted scenes, you see how good writer/director Ari Aster is at 'killing his darlings.' Not that any of the deleted scenes were darlings necessarily, but watching what he shot and then removed, you see how he was originally trying to flesh out Peter and Steve's characters more, and how he pulled back and gave us only what we needed. The inclusion of any of those deleted scenes would have, in my opinion, hurt the movie's power, so Aster knew exactly where to draw lines and how to intuit when he had enough.

Pretty impressive for a first movie.

There's some criticism out there that Gabriel Byrne's Steve in particular, is a poorly written, two-dimensional character. I for one disagree. He is exactly what the movie needs him to be. I stuggle with this some time in my own work, the idea of adding more to make sure my point gets across, or to ensure a character is 'fully realized.' Then I watch something like this and see that with restraint great things can come. Spaces in the character can evolve, spaces that draw people in the way the people in their life do. We all interact every day with people we only know in one particular role, or way, and it doesn't diminish their role or strength in our lives. Why wouldn't the same be true for characters in a film?

For a counterpoint, watch Rob Zombie's Halloween - RZ spends so much time ensuring that we understand William Forsythe's Ronnie is white trash that it becomes overkill and, frankly, derails the movie.

Playlist from 11/29:

The Doors - Strange Days
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Kylie Minogue - Fever
Cocksure - Be Rich
Emma Ruth Rundle - Marked for Death
Grimes - We Appreciate Power (Single)
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night

Card of the day:

Another card I see a lot. I'm curious if this convergence of regular cards I've pulled during the year are rallying to clarify a point I've missed?